What a breath of fresh air ! At last a major tactical switch from Roberto Martinez. Let’s not get too giddy about it – once again the result did not go Wigan’s way – but how refreshing it was to see an exciting new system put in place.
Playing three centre halves makes good sense, knowing how fragile Wigan’s centre of defence has been over recent seasons. What a shame that in the opening minutes they did not quite gel and it led to Blackburn’s opening goal. The wing backs – Stam and Jones – were probably our best players on the day and created opportunities from their wide play. That Wigan did not win is down to a bizarre goal with a player dribbling the ball in directly from a corner (have you ever seen that happen before?) and a moment of panic in the 7th minute of added time (6 minutes had been allocated). How unlucky can you get?
A run through of the goals:
0-1 Hesitancy from Gary Caldwell leads to Yakubu lobbing Al Habsi. Caldwell and Gohouri get in each other’s way trying to clear on the goal line. Visitors ahead after a minute.
1-1 Opportunist goal from Jordi Gomez after 7 minutes, with Robinson not reacting to a shot at his near post.
2-1 A well taken header from a Jones corner by the unmarked Gary Caldwell in the 31st minute.
2-2 David Dunn sent off for his second yellow card after 48 minutes. 11 minutes later we get a bizarre goal, Pedersen dribbling into the box, then crossing, directly from a corner kick. Al Habsi cannot hold the ball and Hoilett scores.
3-2 Opportunist goal after 88 minutes from Albert Crusat after a head down by Hugo Rodallega. Robinson at fault.
3-3 In the 97th minute goalkeeper Robinson goes up for the last chance of the game. As the ball comes to him he is recklessly kicked in the head by David Jones. Penalty well taken by Yakubu.
Wigan’s superiority in the game was such that they had 26 shots on goal (6 on target), Blackburn having 9 (3 on target). All in all a heartening display leaving lots of optimism for the future.
Let’s hope our luck will change!
Ali Al Habsi: 7 – Hard to fault him with not dealing well with Pedersen’s illegal cross that led to Blackburn’s second goal. Otherwise as good as ever. One of the Premier League’s top ‘keepers.
Steve Gohouri: 6.5 – One of his better displays, including a goal-saving block on Yakubu. However, he or Caldwell could have kept Yakubu’s first goal out with better coordination. The right hand centre back in a block of three is probably his best position.
Gary Caldwell: 6 – His captain’s goal from Jones’ corner was inspirational. Not on his best form at the moment. The first goal was symptomatic of his loss of confidence. He probably bears the burden of poor results as captain. Let’s get behind him because he can help save our season. See Gohouri comment above regarding first Blackburn goal.
Maynor Figueroa: 6.5 – Did well in his position of left centre back in a block of three. Although he can make mistakes at times, his stats over the season so far rate him highly in terms of tackles won and interceptions made.
Ronnie Stam: 8 – His best performance since the win at Tottenham last year. Wing back is his natural position. Played with verve and determination.
David Jones: 7.5 – What a shame he lost his self discipline and gave away the penalty. Played a good game at left wing back. It could be his best position, if not one he would prefer
James McCarthy: 7 – Worked hard as always. Excellent in the tackle and in intercepting, rarely wastes the ball. One feels there is more to come but this was a good performance. A player of huge potential.
Mohammed Diame: 7 – A quality performer. Playing for Senegal has helped his confidence. A complete player, with the ability to slot in easily to a top four team. Let’s hope he signs a new contract.
Victor Moses: 6.5 – Once again looked dangerous, but faded out a little in the second half. His role needs more definition in this new system. He is not yet a clinical finisher. Potentially brilliant, but young and maturing.
Gomez: 6.5 – The new system put him closer to the action. A very well taken goal. The concept of a left footer shooting from the right forms a big part of Martinez’s strategy. Capable of scoring more goals.
Conor Sammon: 6 – Worked hard on the morsels he was fed. Could not be faulted for effort or technique. What a lonely role a Latics’ centre forward has!
Hugo Rodallega: 7- Looked comfortable in his more central role. Really unlucky with a good effort from Jones’ cross. Put him in there as the second striker with a big man and see the difference.
Albert Crusat: 7 – Took his goal superbly and linked up well on the left. If played in his natural left wing role he can provide lots of quality crosses for our central striker(s).
James McArthur – Came on too late to comment, but a good squad player with more to come.